September 28th, 2007
11:10 AM ET
11 years ago

Dems seize on Limbaugh's 'phony soldiers' comment

Democrats are seizing on recent comments from Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the wake of the high-profile uproar from Republicans over a ad attacking Gen. David Petraeus, Democrats are seizing on recent comments from popular conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh who said on a recent broadcast on Iraq that some veterans who criticize the war in the media are "phony soldiers."

Democrats are pointing to comments Limbaugh made Wednesday when he and a caller were discussing critics of the Iraq war:

"What's really funny is, they [Iraq war critics] never talk to real soldiers," the caller said. "They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media."

"The phony soldiers," Limbaugh then said.

In a statement issued Thursday, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, called Limbaugh's comments a "personal attack on our men and women in uniform" and "reprehensible."

"It minimizes the sacrifice our troops in Iraq and their families are making and has no place in the public discourse," he added. "Rush Limbaugh owes our military and their families an apology for his hurtful comments that minimize their service to our country."

Also Thursday, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, a veteran of the Vietnam War, called the comments a "disgusting attack."

“In a single moment on his show, Limbaugh managed to question the patriotism of men and women in uniform who have put their lives on the line and many who died for his right to sit safely in his air-conditioned studio peddling hate," Kerry said in a statement. "He is an embarrassment to his party, and I expect the Republicans who flock to his microphone will now condemn this indefensible statement.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pennsylvania, an Iraq War veteran, said, "Someone should tell chicken-hawk Rush Limbaugh that the only phonies are those who choose not to serve and then criticize those who do."

And on the House floor Thursday, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-New Jersey, said Republicans should hold and Limbaugh to the "same standard."

"I wonder if Republicans who showed so much outrage towards yesterday will hold Rush Limbaugh to the same standard, and I wouldn’t hold your breath," he said.

On Wednesday, the House voted 341-79 to condemn the liberal group's recent newspaper ad dubbing Petraeus "General Betray Us?"

UPDATE: Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, a candidate for president, is the latest Democrat to weigh in on the comments Friday, issuing a statement saying, "It's ironic, if not remotely surprising, that Rush Limbaugh – who makes his living shooting his mouth off – would impugn the patriotism and service of American troops simply because they have voiced their opposition to this failed policy. It's clear that he has no idea what the brave men and women of our armed forces are ostensibly fighting for."

Filed under: Iraq • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (402 Responses)
  1. John, Olmsted Falls, Ohio

    Rush (regardless of your political affiliation) has been, and will continue to be a complete idiot. The people that serve this country deserve the complete respect of those of us who haven't served in or retired from the military. If the media wants to pull a cook from some Army division and actually wants to air his opinions about the war, then it's their right to do so... as long as they don't try to sell the American people that they were in the thick of a gunbattle asking some grunt while he was changing magazines on his M-4. REMF's and grunts are like comparing apples and banannas, and shame on the media for trying to make us believe that we're as dumb as the idiots (Rush, can you hear me?) on the radio.

    September 28, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. christian, selden, ny

    Wade- Appleton, WI

    its great that every comment in this blog that is FOR rush is "ex-military" this WAR IS RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 28, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Eric, Laurel, MD

    There is no limit to how low scum like Limbaugh will go to attack anyone who has the nerve to oppose this war. How in the name of God does someone like Rush Limbaugh, who never served one day in the military, have the gall to attack soldiers who are speaking out against the war?

    After all the garbage about the MoveOn.Org ad and the resolutions in the Senate and House, this shows that the two-faced idiots like Limbaugh are the ones who really hate our troops. Sickening and disgusting!

    September 28, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Peter, Ithaca, NY

    ""The phony soldiers," Limbaugh then said."

    Brian – note the quote. PLURAL. 'Soldiers". He was NOT discussing one soldier or one soldier's comment.

    Perhaps you should get your OWN arguments straight before you attempt to correct others.

    September 28, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Dave, Lancaster, PA

    I just thought of a great idea for those immigrants who want citizenship. Hows about we make them soldiers for a spell to earn it?

    And Rush: perhaps it's time for you to be a "uniter, not a divider." Maybe you can do it since Bush certainly cannot.

    September 28, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Caroline, Houston

    Did you notice there was no rebuttal quote in the above story from Rush Limbaugh? Limbaugh was talking about ONE soldier who never served in Iraq and was out of the army in 44 days.

    He just said on his show that not one reporter has called to check on the accuracy of what they are reporting or ask what he meant. CNN is taking the information from a third party news source without checking facts.

    The real story here is that you have to read or watch 4 or 5 news sources to get an idea of what is really going on in a situation because you cannot trust any one U.S. news source to give the honest facts anymore.

    September 28, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Mark, Lincoln, NE

    You liberal phonies are pitiful.

    Limbaugh was referring to a dude named Jesse who 1) is published ALL OVER the liberal left blogosphere, 2) Claims to have been in the army when he flunked out of boot camp after 44 days, 3) Claims to have witnessed atrocities committed by our miliary in Iraq, yet NEVER made it out of boot camp, much less into combat, 4) is the lap dog of the anti-war Chicken-squawks!!

    THIS IS A FAKE SOLDIER!!! He brings shame to real soldiers of all political stripes.

    When are the whiney liberals going to DEMAND that Murtha apologize to the now acquitted Haiditha troops that he prematurely maligned and accused of atrocities???

    September 28, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. Palmer, San Antonio, TX

    After serving in Iraq, I realized right away that the people of Iraq did not want us there. If they did, they sure had a weird way of showing it. I survived, as many of my brothers and sisters in arm have, fire fights, mortars, and IEDs; all in one tour. The press has never talked to me and I hate the fact that we are there. So, according to Rush Limbaugh, I guess I’m a phony too. As I see it, I served my country to uphold the Constitution that guarantees my right to “Free Speech.” Mr. Limbaugh can go to Hell.

    September 28, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. Samuel Gilbert, San Francisco, CA

    To all of those who support Rush Limbaugh from one who does not:

    What he said is not important. We are all in this together. If we fail in Iraq we will all suffer for it just as we all suffer for the admitted mistakes that have been made in Iraq.

    What is important is that with all of these arguments there is a truth. A truth about al queda in Iraq and the relationship to 9/11, a truth about the connection to Saddam and al queda before 9/11, a truth to the effect of the war on American power in the world, a truth to the effect of the war on our economy and our future.

    As citizens we owe it to each other, to America and to our children to learn these truths. Rush Limbaugh is no more a voice of truth then Move To except the words of these polymerizing entities as truth and then to vote and act based on these words will make us all weaker.

    Lets not argue about what these people said and what was meant, lets instead spend our timing learning the truth so we can solve our problems together.

    September 28, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Denni , Little Rock, AR

    why should Rush apologize?

    Why aren't we demanding an apology from John Kerry for his Iraq remarkabout education? why no apology from for slamming the military and General Petraeus?

    Liberals, like mentally disordered people, like to pick a fight for attention.

    September 28, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Tom, NY NY

    Rush was talking about one person who faked his credentials as an army ranger. In fact he washed out of basic and never stepped foot in Iraq, never mind witnessing the atrocities he claimed to have seen with his own yes. He was tried and convicted for lying about his service.

    That is what I call a phony soldier. That is what I call phony reporting. Media Matters strikes again.

    September 28, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Paul, Salem Oregon

    Irony: Chickenhawk radio talking head believing he has a right to call men and women in uniform "phony."

    A new low for someone that has reached so many. Maybe he should put down the bottle of pills, give some of his money to the families of the fallen, and pick up a rifle. Limbaugh has no honor - and he never even learned the concept of duty.

    September 28, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. A Vet, Jupiter, FL

    And this comment comes from a man who avoided service due to a pimple on his butt. Chicken hawks like this coward are real brave when they stand behind a microphone.

    September 28, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. christian, selden, ny

    Eric T, Chittenango, NY

    FOX NEWS IS FREE THINKERS!?!?!? o my god!!!! its amazing you people have figured out the concept of reading and writing!!!NY TIMES reports news and you call that liberal as well you people are ruinging this country!!! and even when we are doing bad you will still stand by your ridiculous ideas...just like right now!!!

    September 28, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. KY, North Pole AK

    Rush – just another fem-nazi here to ask, no BEG you to please, please, please hang up the microphone and crawl back under whatever rock you and the other venemous snakes came from – you, O'Reilly, Coulter, and Ingraham need to slither on home now. Your hatred is what divides our country – you are the true terrorists, and thinking men and women know you for the lying, hate-spewing phonies that you are.

    September 28, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. ken,lakewood,colorado

    as 20 year vet.rush owes our brave troops an apology.and anyone who agrees with him should try and support our troops by supporting the withdrawl and bringing them ghome alive.
    rush you sir are a poor excuse for an american!

    September 28, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Eric, Atlanta Georgia

    Hey CNN,

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Please do some real journalism before you report something (don't believe all Internet stories, faxes, and other secondary sources).

    September 28, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Roberto Fontanez Jacksonville, FL

    I just can't believe that people can be so easy to mislead. For the information of all hands Rush was refering to Jesse Maccabe (Not sure of spelling). He was talking about this guy and this guy only. Jesse told everybody that he was in Iraq and that he saw the attrocities that our soldiers are commiting in Iraq. Well this guy got kick out of the Army after only 42 in Basic Training. He has never being in Iraq. CNN with all the resources that they have instead of checking Rush show transcript they decide to make it look like Rush is talking about everybody in the Military. CNN I am so sick and tired of your un-proffesional liberal point of view news. CNN thinks that all of us are so stupid that nobody is going to check the facts or that nobody heard exactly what Rush say in his show. Please CNN let me know if you guys need help reporting the true about this issue. I have all the informaiton that I need, I got it from the web.

    September 28, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. Tadd Vanyo, New Brighton, MN

    All those that are speaking out against Rush, simple READ THE ENTIRE transcript.

    He was referring to a convicted fake soldier, one individual who was caught lieing about his military record and then elevated by the Left.

    CNN should be ashamed as they have now joined the hate merchants of MSNBC and spreading falsehoods.

    CPT Tadd Vanyo
    HHC 2-136th CAB
    NEw Brighton, MN 55112

    September 28, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. Steve, Columbia, MO

    Reading through these comments all I can think is how severely divided this country is right now. The left vs. right, the Rush vs. MoveOn, the dems vs. repubs, and on and on. One thing I want you all to remember is that you are mad at the wrong person. People, in general, left or right, believe in the same basic principles. It's our President, Goerge Bush who has divided us. He and his administration got us into this war. They have divided us. Don't loose focus... don't forget who you SHOULD be mad at.

    September 28, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. Eric, New Braunfels, TX

    First let me start by asking how many of you who are blasting Rush have served in the military? Because if you have served more than 6 months you would know a "phony soldier." However, Rush was talking about a "soldier" that the Dems brought in who said who saw all kinds of bad things our men/women were doing and it was a total lie. Ofcourse the left leaning media didn't retract the story because that would make sense.

    I also want to give all of you folks an example of a "phony soldier" I served for 11 years in the Army and got out because the military was in decline from a discipline stand point and was becoming more like a politicians lifestyle vs a soldiers. I was in charge of assigning active duty soldiers out to reserve units for deployment. I had a female captain who said that I (as a sergeant) could not task her out. She joined the Army because they paid for her education, not to go to war. So, there is a perfect example of a "phony soldier"

    September 28, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. Kerry Rottenstein, Toledo, OH

    They are called FOBBITS, the solders and Marines who sit behind the FOB (forward outside base) wire and complain that their 3 hot square meals a day, TV, and internet connections aren't good enough for "WAR". I do not doubt their commitment to our country but I don’t believe they represent the majority of our service men and women. But for some reason the Dems don't ever ask the troops who served during Operation Iron Fist, Phantom Fury, or Steel Curtain to talk with the public. I can only wonder why."

    Posted By Sgt Bohlen

    Well, just so you know Sgt., two of the seven that wrote the piece in the New York Times to which the BlowHard is covertly referring have since been KILLED in Iraq and another is in serious condition. They don't sound like they are very FOB to me. However, you sitting in NC are making your comments from a very safe distance. I look forward to your comments after (or if) you return from your deployment in Iraq.

    September 28, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. Rich Buffalo, NY

    Rush is just doing his job, irritating people to get a paycheck. Just like Don Imus did. Oh, Wait, they fired his stupid,irritating,ignorant ass. Maybe we'll get lucky and Rush will get fired, or hopefully fired upon. He needs a hole in his head.

    September 28, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. Nathan Webster, Stratham, NH

    As a freelance journalist recently returned from Iraq, I will say that the media doesn't have to try very hard to find frustrated, angry soldiers. I was with one unit for one month, and they griped all day. They ALSO went on missions when it was 150 degrees, wearing 90 pounds of gear and armor. They never stopped moving. They were relentless in everything they did, from missions to griping.

    The despicable thing about Rush – and the phony "veterans" who claim they have this deployment, and that service, all without using their real names – is he acts like any soldier who complains about the frustrating aspect of their effort is somehow less a patriot than every other soldier.

    The men in the 82nd I met are guys who are 50 times the man that a fatty gut-gut like Limbaugh is. They are 20 times the man any stateside American is. They are out there, sweating and dying, and they can say anything they please. If one of their fellow veterans wants to criticize them – and has the courage to use their real name – that's perfectly fine. Cause they at least now something.

    It's the job of fat, dumb Americans to learn about and understand what a soldier at war is saying – it's NOT the job of an American soldier to concern him or herself with whether or not fat, dumb Americans misinterpret those words.

    Unless you're there – right now, this minute – you got no right to judge what our soldiers in battle say, when the sun's beating down and every minute sucks.

    You got no right. Not now. Not ever.

    September 28, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. David, Blacksburg, VA

    Thanks, CNN, for not reporting the whole story. Just the type of shoddy, pro-Democrat reporting we've grown expect from you.

    September 28, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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